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RNAF Republic P-47M Thunderbolt vs Japan

Started by comrade harps, November 29, 2021, 05:06:23 PM

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comrade harps

Republic P-47M Thunderbolt
a/c 421160/26, "Lucky Lady"/"Ruth", 322  Squadron, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF)
K-10 Chinhae, UN Occupied Southern Korea
Personal mount of Flying Officer Johannes Chrishostomus "Kick" Smit, 27 February 1946

The Republic P-47M Thunderbolt was designed and built in response to the growing threat of Axis jets. At the time, little was known of Japan's considerable reaction-powered aircraft program, but Germany's was clearly evident. Ordered as an interim solution for a faster Thunderbolt, all 130 P-47Ms were intended for use by the  56th Fighter Group in England. However, the Separate Peace of 22 August 1944 had ended the war in Western Europe before the aircraft arrived. With USAAF commanders in Europe wanting to standardise their Thunderbolt fleet on proven and plentiful late-model P-47Ds, and USAAF commanders in the Pacific wanting to standardise their Thunderbolt fleet on the soon to be delivered P-47N, the P-47M's deployment was held in limbo until an operator could be found.

With their nation liberated from German occupation, the Dutch government looked to increase its efforts to re-colonise the Netherlands East Indies (NEI), most of which was under Japanese occupation. Seeking to replace the P-40N Kittyhawks of 120 NEI Squadron with new, faster, longer-ranged planes, the Dutch had asked for P-47Ds or P-51Ds, but instead had to settle for the less suitable Kaiser-built Grumman P-50K Spitfire. This deal had just been concluded when, at the start of negotiations on the Dutch commitment to the anticipated invasion of the Japanese Home Islands, the Dutch government learnt of the orphaned P-47Ms. Agreeing to field two fighter squadrons to support the invasion, they asked for the P-47Ms and a deal was struck.

322 and 323 Squadrons of the RNAFwere disbanded in February 1945 and reformed at Clarke Field, Philippines, in May. Once fully trained on the P-47M, August and October saw the two squadrons undertake several fighter escort and sweep missions to Formosa. No enemy aircraft were met in flight. In November they deployed to Ie Shima, off Okinawa, where they flew defensive patrols, again without encountering Japanese aircraft. In January 1946 they moved K-10 Chinhae in UN Occupied Southern Korea, performing air defence patrols (including both defensive Peach and Asparagus flights, the latter to deter Red intervention), Cherry escort missions and Honeydew offensive sweeps. 20 of the Dutch pilots became aces in the turkey shoot that followed the 1 March Allied invasion of Honshu. After the 23 May Japanese surrender, 322 Squadron returned home in July. They re-equipped briefly with the Supermarine Spitfire L.F. Mk.IX before converting to the de Havilland Vampire FB.3. In August 323 Squadron moved to Yotoka, Japan, flying their P-47Ms until September 1948, after which they returned to the Netherlands to fly Meteor F.4s.

Due to its speed, fast climb and high diving velocity, the Dutch P-47Ms were dedicated to air-to-air combat and specialised in engaging Japan's reaction-powered combatants. Dutch Thunderbolt pilots downed 53 piloted <a href="https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=45376.0">Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka Model 43B Otsu Baka</a> kamikaze pulse jets (plus another 72 unnamed flying bombs), 7 <a href="https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=37883.0">Fuji Kaiken - Kai Terry</a> turbojet fighters, 2 <a href="https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=38004.0"> Kyushu Ya Bruce</a> rocket-powered interceptors, plus 1 each of the <a href="https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=40519.0">Rikugun Ki-89 Itsumade-Kai Floyd</a> turbojet dive bomber and the pulse jet-augmented A6M9 Hadō ryū version of the Zero. A further 147 Japanese planes were shot down by the Dutch P-47M pilots, all while flying from K-10 Chinhae.

The Dutch pilots first encountered the manned and unmanned versions of the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka flying bomb on 23 February 1946. Acting on intelligence that the Allies were embarking invasion forces onto ships at southern Korean ports, the Japanese began their flying-bomb campaign against the invasion fleet on this date. Referring to enemy jets as "suckers" (sukkels in Dutch), the pilots of 322 and 323 Squadrons adopted the phrase "Hi sucker" as a radio callout when pulsejet- or turbojet-powered aircraft were sighted. According to Kick Smit, exclaiming the "hi sucker" battle cry quickly over the radio was a "mocking mimicry of excited Japanese speech." The phrase was painted on an aircraft when its nominally assigned pilot was credited with his first jet kill.

F/O Smit had just missed combat ops in Europe and flown dozens of missions in the Asia/Pacific theatre without seeing enemy aircraft until 23 February 1946. On that date, he dispatched two unmanned Ohka, and "HI SUCKER" was painted in yellow under the canopy of his personal mount, a/c 421160/26. Both kills were made using the flipping technique, whereby the Allied fighter pilot manoeuvred a wingtip under the flying bomb's wing and pull up (the wings not making contact due to a boundary layer of air). If done properly, the Ohka would depart from controlled flight and crash. This manner of interception had been pioneered during the Okinawa campaign, when the first manned Ohkas, launched from bombers, were encountered. Proving difficult to shoot down due to their small size, US Navy pilots learnt that disrupting the jets' flight path could sufficiently disorientate the poorly trained and highly stressed kamikaze pilots into uncontrolled flight.

By 27 February, Smit had achieved 11 kills, all Ohka (6 manned, 5 unmanned). On that date, 322 and 323 Squadrons were tasked with performing a Cherry fighter escort mission for the P-47Ds of the Latin American Fighter Group. Their targets were logistical sites believed to be supplying the flying bomb units with fuel and compressed air. Because the Ohka had only just enough range to reach the southern-most Korean ports from the Japanese Home Islands, their launchers were concentrated around southern Honshu and northwestern Kyushu. The plan for this mission was for the P-47D pilots to unload their bombs and rockets and immediately return to K2 Taegu. The Dutch Thunderbolt pilots were to remain, using the endurance afforded by their loadout of underwing and centreline fuel tanks to transition from the Cherry escort mission to that of a Mango "anti-diver" patrol until relieved by the P-47Ns of the USAAF's 414 Fighter Group.

However, the plan went awry when the Brazillian pilot Captain Ademir Marques de Menezes was shot down by flak near Manukata, Kyushu. Its engine disabled, de Menezes rode his Thunderbolt to the ground, crashing just short of the coast. It was now a Blackberry rescue CAP mission, with 323 Squadron responsible for strafing to protect the downed airman from capture until a US Navy HO2S-1 helicopter crew could affect a rescue. Assigned top cover, 322 Squadron was patrolling the sky overhead when, without warning, a lone Fuji Kaiken - Kai Terry was seen approaching a low level. F/Lt Faas Wilkes, with his wingman Smit, were the first to see the enemy jet fighter and immediately dove to execute an intercept. Looking forward and up, his vision rearward restricted by the dorsally mounted turbojet, Captain Kazu Noaki (with no combat experience and on just his second Terry flight) didn't see them coming. Reacting only when he saw Wilkes' tracers pass by, Noaki pulled into a starboard turn, the planform of his jet filling Smit's gunsight. A direct burst of fire from his 8 .50 cal Brownings was followed by a long deflection shot as the Terry "wallowed and shuddered" at low altitude. "A gout of flame flickered into a streaming tongue," Smit wrote in 1949, "and the jet turned over, yawed and toppled over into a series of swirling barrel rolls... it careened into the ground." The inexperienced Noaki, who was flying a training mission (and directed to intervene in the ResCAP by older commanders who avoided the opportunity to take off and engage the Thunderbolts themselves), was killed. Although injured, Captain de Menezes was rescued and survived the war. Smit would go on to be credited with 31 air-to-air kills.

The nose art on Smit's P-47N was a reference to a USAAF nurse Kick Smit met in the Philipines: Second Lieutenant Ruth Blackburn. Tended to by nurse Blackburn after breaking his left wrist in a Dutch vs Argentina soccer friendly, the two exchanged addresses and maintained a mail correspondence until they met again in the US in 1951. They married in 1952.



That's a SUPER looking model, and an EXCEPTIONALLY good backstory! I'm wholly impressed Comrade!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)



My deviantart page:

PS: Not my art, not very good at drawning :P


Terrific looking model and great backstory  :bow:
Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.



- Can't be bothered to do the proper research and get it right.

Another ill conceived, lazily thought out, crudely executed and badly painted piece of half arsed what-if modelling muppetry from zenrat industries.

zenrat industries:  We're everywhere...for your convenience..